For the month of August I’m paying homage to my mother and heritage with Vietnamese and Vietnamese inspired recipes. Just like a sharp looking ensemble requires the right foundation (Spanx anyone?) Vietnamese cooking requires you to have an array of ingredient staples on hand to ensure the best, most authentic result. When all are already in your kitchen it is easier to approach this style of cooking. The cooking process is generally very quick, but I find it’s just the lengthy list of ingredients that intimidates people (and sometimes myself to be perfectly honest). I will not include ALL of these basics, but rather the truly mandatory few and the ingredients used throughout this month’s recipes. Your shopping list includes:
- FISH SAUCE aka Nuoc Cham
Note, not all fish sauces are created equal! Choose one made with fish, salt and water and avoid ones with added sugar (fructose) and hydrolyzed wheat protein. I used Red Boat while recipe testing, so I suggest going that route for the sake of consistency.
- SCALLIONS/GREEN ONIONS
- SUGAR/PALM SUGAR
Again, for the sake of consistency, do not substitute honey, agave, etc. Do not pass “GO.” Do not collect $200. And if you’re using that Splenda/stevia poison, just stop that immediately. Forever.
- RICE VINEGAR
Bet you have that one covered!